Tennis betting is all about finding value at the margins. With dozens of matches to choose from each day, the most successful bettors will find maybe one or two plays each day, if that. Betting the board, or choosing far too many matches, is typically an unsuccessful strategy. One very solid ploy, however, is targeting players who advanced through qualifying in their first-round matchups.

Not only do the qualifiers have a better feel for the conditions—they typically come out firing, having found a rhythm in their weekend wins. After a sub-par year for his standards, Tommy Paul is slowly working his way back into form. The American will take on clay-court specialist Cristian Garin on Tuesday, and according to the oddsmakers, is just a -147 favorite—projected to win by two total games.

Advertising

Paul is slowly but surely displaying improved form this summer. 

I’m not sure what Garin has done to deserve this much respect on a hard court, but the Chilean is 0-3 on the surface this year, with losses to Christian Harrison in Delray Beach, Marin Cilic in Miami, and John Isner last week in Toronto. Perhaps Garin’s straight-set victory over Paul in the 2018 Newport Challenger has led to this attackable line, but Paul is a superior player in this playing environment, period. Paul’s career hard-court record of 28-31 compared to Garin’s 15-29 mark is enough to feel confident.

Paul has shown an increased fitness capacity in recent weeks, outlasting a cramping Vasek Pospisil in Toronto and surviving Tennys Sandgren on Sunday in a physical 6-7 (5), 7-6 (4), 6-3, victory.

This marks the first tour-level meeting between Garin and Paul.

This marks the first tour-level meeting between Garin and Paul.

Advertising

There’s always a chance Garin will find his range, but until he strings together a number of hard-court victories, betting against Garin on his least favorite surface is never a bad idea. It’s typically best to start small in the early stages of a tournament, as you never know how each player will respond to the new conditions at a given tournament. That said, this line feels a bit off. Bet whatever amount you are comfortable losing on the American to win by two games.

The Pick: Tommy Paul -2